Julian Nagelsmann on...
... the opposition.
“I have to give serious praise to Manuel Baum and his team. Few people anticipated the levels of performances they’re producing in the Bundesliga this season. I’m expecting a physical battle on Saturday. Augsburg aren’t afraid to get stuck in. They work through the midfield quickly and want to get the ball into the final third quickly by getting it out wide. In Philipp Max, they have someone who can pick out a player from anywhere. I can envisage a game full of challenges and second balls. Recently, it’s been extremely cold in Augsburg which will make the game even more of a battle."
... squad update.
“Stefan Posch and Kerem Demirbay are still out. Aside from that, we’re looking strong. I’m glad we’re almost back to have a full team to choose from.”
... the sporting situation.
“We’re not completely happy with how this season has gone so far. Therefore, I have to be critical. That’s part of my job. I can’t just smile away all of the mistakes we’re making. I’m mainly pleased with how we’re performing but not the results. Therefore, I spoke with my video analysists last night about how we can improve in the coming weeks but it’s far from being doom and gloom. We don’t have to throw everything we’ve done so far out the window. We just have to tweak things. Our journey has been a great success so far and from that I believe we’re on the right path.”
It doesn’t matter when you’re a world class player whether the whole team’s structure is working. We don’t have a squad full of world class players. We have a good squad. Last season, many players played to and even above their maximal output like the whole team was doing. Now, the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. We’re not as stabile as we were last season. We have to stick together to get back to the levels of performances we know we’re capable of.”
... communicating with the fans.
“I made it clear to the fans that my words weren’t a criticism of our fans. I just didn’t understand why they were whistling when we were passing the ball backwards. When you face a team like SC Freiburg who sit deep and hope to frustrate you, you have to pass backwards to go forwards against a team set up like that. In the last two years, our fans’ support has been exceptional and I’m sure that will continue to be the case. You can see the progress we’re making here.”
The head-to-head record between the two sides swings in TSG’s favour. In their 13 meetings, TSG have won six, four saw points shared and three times Augsburg came out on top. Augsburg’s last win came back in February 2015. Since then, there have been three TSG wins and two draws.
The opposition's form
Augsburg are one of this season’s surprises in the Bundesliga. Manuel Baum’s team currently find themselves in eight place – one above TSG. FCA and TSG both have 32 points to their respective names so far this season. Most recently, Augsburg took on Borussia Dortmund and got a hard-fought point on their travels on Monday night. It was a crucial point as FCA had lost their two games beforehand.
The key duel
With the likes of Alfred Finnbogason and Michael Gregoritsch, FCA possess two of the league’s top scorers with 20 goals and eight assists between them. FCA have been without Iceland international Finnbogason of late. However, even with those two in the team, they’ve been the least accurate team in the league when it comes to shooting. Only 42% of their shots have been on target whereas TSG are in second place in the league with 50%. That could be key on Saturday…